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Third Quarter, 2008

Today is July 11th, and I must admit that I have been dragging my feet in writing my Q3 market commentary.

Typically, I have a strong inner sense of where the market is headed for the quarter, but not this time. I spent the first decade of my adult professional life as an economist and the last two decades in real estate in one capacity or another — renovator, investor, Realtor®. And, I confess to being a glass half-full person.

All the numbers that I see for trends in San Francisco’s solid neighborhoods continue to move in the right direction — upward. Fabulous properties still attract multiple bids. Inventory remains scarce — a factor that helps to keep prices high. Foreign exchange rates make our properties relatively more attractive to overseas investors.

My concerns are in part about the impact of the plummeting stock market on many of our buyers’ abilities to purchase their next home. Credit is most definitely tighter, but quite frankly, it is a good thing to have curtailed the risky lending practices. Add to that, the banks are now in the real estate business with their appetite for selling foreclosure properties — matched by the appetite of speculators. While foreclosures are still a very minor phenomenon in San Francisco, some of that is bound to spill into our slice of heaven.

Recently, Manhattan real estate has begun to show minor signs of softening.The good news is that San Francisco small developers are still undertaking projects, and our home buyers hunger for wonderful adult and family residences. The $2.5 million to $6 million range for homes and view condos is still on fire. We have personally obtained for our sellers some record breaking results in terms of price per square foot and overall sales price in District 7 — Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights. Equally stunning results have been occurring in District 5 — especially Noe Valley, Dolores Heights, Eureka Valley.

Bottom line: if real estate is not in your portfolio in a significant way, you are missing out over the intermediate and long-term — and possibly even the short term. Once again, the current rapidly moving market creates a time where market savvy and experience make all the difference in the world.

Experience and knowledge can pay dividends to sellers and lack thereof can put buyers out in the cold. Having the personal advice and dedication of a well-informed Realtor® will make all the difference.

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